Last week we gave you a brief introduction to our new dental director Dr. Okuji. This week I sat down with him and asked a few questions about Colorado and his professional background.
Welcome to Colorado. What do you think of our state compared to your hometown of San Francisco?
It’s different. It’s wide open with big skies. It looks like people enjoy the outdoors here. It’s a beautiful area.
What made you want to move here?
In 2008, I had the opportunity to become a group practice director at the UCLA dental school and got experience in administrative oversight and treatment planning. It was very interesting work and it suited me. When I heard about the opening and read the job description, it was exactly what I wanted to do; a perfect fit.
How long did you work in private practice?
I’ve had an urban practice in San Francisco for more than 30 years. I work in a 26-story medical/dental building and I run a pretty typical private practice – three chairs, a dental assistant – the same type of set-up as about 90% of private practice dentists. I understand their concerns and they’ll understand who I am because we do the same things.
How do you view the current environment for the dental profession?
The regulatory environment and compliance issues have increased tremendously over the last 10 years. Modeling a practice is a little different than how I did it because of the cost structure. We don’t have as much control over the economic environment and that’s going to affect both mid-career and new dentists. It may not be as much of an issue for dentists who are five- to 10 years from retirement, however. Dentists who want to continue in private practice and fee-for-service have to adapt.
Do you have questions for Dr. Okuji? Leave them in the comments below.